South Mindanao, The Philippines
SPO partners with Endangered Species International (ESI) in South Mindanao, the Philippines, to protect International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-critically endangered Philippine forest turtles on Mount Matutum. SPO also assists with a programme on mangrove and coastal reef conservation, management and rehabilitation activities in the Sarangani Bay area, some 80 kilometres downstream of the turtle habitat. SPO sponsors our Filipino seafarers who work as volunteers for the rehabilitation of forests and mangroves for a period of five days.
This programme was established in 2013 following a request from one of SPO's seafarers to help save the turtles of the Philippines, and has since developed into a long-term partnership that we are immensely proud of and for which our caring seafarers willingly volunteer.
Achievements in the early part of 2020, before the pandemic put all travel and many countries into tight lockdown, included:
From 25th to 29th February 2020, SPO deployed another group of five volunteers to participate in the conservation efforts for coral reefs and mangrove forest at Glan and Malapatan, in Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape area in the Philippines.
This is a part of the ongoing programme in partnership with Endangered Species International (ESI).
SPO initiated this partnership in 2013 upon request from our Filipino seafarers who wanted to contribute towards marine and environmental conservation efforts in the Philippines. During this trip and for the first time, the project had two female members participating in the ESI-driven conservation programme.
During the five-day programme, volunteers learned basic techniques in propagating different species of mangrove trees, and planted 600 mangrove seedlings belonging to three species.
They worked alongside the local communities, youth groups and students to raise awareness on the importance of mangroves as ecosystems and instil a sense of ownership of looking after the environment.
Volunteers and ESI employees made sacks using drifting fishing nets and other debris collected along the shore. They amassed 32 large sacks of non-biodegradable debris and waste found along mangrove and coastal areas.
Volunteers snorkelled in the Malapatan and Glan Marine Protected Areas and observed first-hand the healthy and damaged coral reefs along the shallow areas. They also learned how to identify various fish species found in the coral ecosystem.
Volunteers and ESI employees collecting debris and waste along the mangrove and coastal areas.